Ramban: Routine vehicular traffic, after having remained suspended for four consecutive days, was restored on Srinagar Jammu National Highway on Wednesday morning.
Officials said after clearing the scheduled Shri Amarnath convoy, hundreds of private cars, light, medium, and heavy vehicles were allowed to ply on both sides of the highway.
Traffic officials monitoring the regulation of traffic in Ramban said that hundreds of vehicles crossed Nashri–Banihal stretch for their respective destinations till late Wednesday evening.
They said due to the huge rush of light, medium vehicles on both sides of the highway, the movement of traffic remained slow at narrow road stretches of highway between Nashri and Banihal.
They said hundreds of stranded heavy vehicles, carrying essential supplies including oil and LPG tankers, were also allowed to move towards Kashmir.
They said heavy vehicles were crossing the Nashri-Ramban sector of the highway, on their way to Kashmir.
Huge congestion was witnessed at several places as traffic was being cleared on one-way basis on narrow stretches of highway, particularly on Mehar-Cafeteria stretch; Ramban-Dhalwass, Peera, besides other places.
To decongest the old alignment of the highway passing through Ramban town, valley-bound heavy vehicles were diverted through the newly constructed 1.6 km long Ramban flyover.
Earlier vehicular traffic was partially restored for a few hours to clear the stranded vehicles, ferrying Amarnath pilgrims and tourists stranded at Yatri Niwas Chanderkote and Qazigund on Tuesday afternoon.
The vehicular traffic on vital Srinagar Jammu NH-44 was suspended following heavy rains on Saturday morning due to landslides at Dhalwass, Mehar-Cafeteria and sinking of road stretches at Panthyal and Chamba-Seri between Nashri and Banihal in Ramban district.
Due to the blockade, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded at various locations between Srinagar and Jammu on Highway.
The Amarnath Yatra was also suspended and stranded pilgrims were accommodated at Yatri Niwas Chanderkote.
Heavy rains, leading to an increase of water level in streams, rivulets, besides Chenab river on Saturday and Sunday, had washed away the approach road leading to Tunnel T-5 at Panthyal, and a portion of the old alignment of Srinagar Jammu National Highway at Chamba-Seri near Ramban.
The road restoration work was started on a war footing by the concerned road maintenance agency (NHAI). On directions of the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday morning, for this purpose, NHAI had pressed its men and machinery for clearing the landslides and to prepare damaged road stretches at Panthyal and Chamba Seri respectively.
After working round the clock, the vital surface-link connecting valley of Kashmir with the rest of the country was partially restored only for clearing stranded Amarnath pilgrims on Tuesday. However, the highway was fully restored for normal traffic on Wednesday morning.
The authorities at Traffic Police Headquarters NHW Ramban Wednesday evening informed that the highway was open for two-way traffic of light, medium vehicles and one-way traffic of heavy vehicles towards Kashmir.
They said traffic was plying in a regulated manner, on both sides of the Srinagar Jammu NH-44.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir traffic department issued a fresh advisory for Thursday stating that subject to fair weather and good road conditions, vehicles carrying Shri Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, tourists, and light and medium vehicles would be allowed to ply on either side of the Srinagar Jammu National Highway (NH-44) tomorrow.
The cut-off timing for valley-bound private cars, light-medium passenger vehicles, other than Amarnath Yatra, and tourists have been fixed at 6 am to 12 pm from Nagrota, Jammu, and from 7 am to 1 pm from Jakhani, Udhampur.
The cut-off timing for Jammu-bound passenger light-medium vehicles has been fixed from 11.30 am to 2 pm on Thursday.
They said after assessing the road and traffic situation, heavy vehicles would be allowed to ply towards Jammu from Qazigund, Kashmir on Thursday.